A Blade in the Dark…new writing, unedited…

I was right.

A couple of chocolate covered donuts hit the spot, and I washed them down with twenty ounces of hot coffee. Lilly and I rode to the park and sat on our picnic table and watched barges float down the waterway. We didn’t speak, we sat in silence and tried to envision what kind of animal would rape a three-year-old girl and then kill her.

Lilly had her hands folded in a manner not akin to praying hands, and she leaned forward to stretch her upper back. 

“I’ve got Manson and Rankin running names of released sexual predators for us. We should get back. It feels wrong to sit here when a child was raped and killed.”

“Come on,” I said, as I stood. “Let’s get on back and look over the paperwork.”

Lilly and I walked back to where we parked. She tossed me the keys and climbed into the passenger seat. I sat behind the wheel and fired up the Charger. Lilly stayed quiet until I pulled into the assigned parking spot for this vehicle. 

“Do you think it’s one of these perverts that did her in?”

“I don’t know, man.”

“I think it’s more personal than just a pedophile raping a kid. They’re not usually so bloody.”

“Mmhmm,” I muttered, as I closed my door. “What leads you to think it’s personal though? Both of Ana’s parents expressed the right emotions.”

“I don’t know, Konan. I’m trying to figure out why someone would kill a child.”

“People do it all the time, Lilly. It’s nothing new.”

“Jesus, someone is grumpy today.”

“No, I just don’t see this case the way you do.”

Lilly stopped and stared at me. She gave me a look, her full lips pouty, her green eyes hard emeralds. She crossed her arms, raised her eyebrows and said, “oh?”

“Yeah, man. You are on this case like a piranha on flesh. I’m over here struggling with thinking, and you’re running names, formulating theories.”

“At least tell me you think this crime is tragic.”

“Of course, I think it’s tragic, Lilly. An innocent kid is dead.”

“That’ll do for now,” Lilly groused, as we made our way across the skywalk to the precinct.

For now, my lack of emotion would have to suffice, but deep down I worried my lack of sympathy was a sign of something darker.

Manson and Rankin had put the names of sexual predators on our desk. Lilly took to the top five, and I grabbed the rest. I sat down across from her and screened the first file. After scrounging through several files, I came upon a name. Rich Dunnell, known to his ‘friends’ as Tricky. 

“Check this out, Lilly.”

I pushed the file over to her, and her smile disappeared. “Tricky Rick Dunnell. He’s out. I arrested this guy and sent him away.”

“Oh yeah? How did he get out?”

“I don’t know. He’s not a nice person.”

I refrained from replying that sexual predators wasn’t known for their niceties. Instead, I waited for her to continue, but Lilly had nothing further to add.

“Was he violent, meaning physical assault or murder?”

“No, but prison might have changed that.”

“Well, let’s go find out.”

Lilly wrote down his known address, and we headed out to the parking garage. These kind of cases were the hardest for us to investigate. I had a hard time connecting with the family, so I let Lilly take lead. She, on the other hand, felt everything on a larger scale, and became dogged in her pursuit of justice for the victim.

We were quite a pair. The emotionally stifled led by the over-emotional. We’d see justice done. The Hendricks deserved nothing less than full closure. 

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